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prisonchaplain

Heaven: Moving into God's House

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Heaven—it’s the place God sends good people to, when they die, right?  According to a 2014 CBS News poll 82% of those who believe in heaven and hell expect to go to heaven when they die.

 

Frankly, if people knew what heaven really was, some might not even want to go. Others would be even more eager.  Why?  It’s God’s house! Jesus says, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” Think of it!  God loves us so much that he’s inviting us to live with him—forever!

 

Amazingly, it took God six days to create this world, but Jesus has been working on our new home for 2,000 years! Also, God described the newly created earth as “good,” but the new heaven is said to be prepared like a bride for her groom!

 

In this kingdom, all sin is gone—including our past failures. No one will look at us, because of what we’ve done! No judgment! No shame! Only love, and God’s eternal presence. 

 

Finally, all pain, sorrow, loneliness, and separation from God will be gone.  No more temptation to sin, no more doubting and second-guessing ourselves. Instead, our lives will be full of purpose and meaning, as we commune, and even rule with God.

 

So, why will some not want to be there? It’s God house, and He is everywhere. Those determined to oppose God, resist him, and reject him will find themselves much more at home in that realm that is forever separated from God.

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In John 14 Jesus says there are many rooms in his Father's house.  To me, in LDS terms, he is referring to the Celestial Kingdom, because it is his Father's house. I suppose it could be said that all the heavenly realms are the Father's, but in the context of Jesus offering to have us "move in," it would not seem to mesh with the overall flavor of the passage, if the "many rooms" referred to the multiple kingdoms.  After all, if I end up in the Terrestial Kingdom, I'd be moving in with Jesus, not the Father.  Right? 

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In John 14 Jesus says there are many rooms in his Father's house.  To me, in LDS terms, he is referring to the Celestial Kingdom, because it is his Father's house. I suppose it could be said that all the heavenly realms are the Father's, but in the context of Jesus offering to have us "move in," it would not seem to mesh with the overall flavor of the passage, if the "many rooms" referred to the multiple kingdoms.  After all, if I end up in the Terrestial Kingdom, I'd be moving in with Jesus, not the Father.  Right? 

 

No, though I grant this is a common idea among Latter-day Saints. The authority for this teaching appears to be one rather nebulous verse in D&C 76, specifically verse 77:

 

[They who dwell in the terrestrial kingdom] are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father.

 

It is obvious that Jesus, a glorified and resurrected being (and, to be precise, God), will by very definition dwell eternally in the celestial kingdom with the Father and those whom he has saved. The precise meaning of D&C 76:77 has not been publicly revealed, at least to my knowledge. But what it most certainly does not mean is that those who inherit a terrestrial glory will dwell eternally with the Christ. That is for those whom Section 132:16, using Paul's terminology, calls "worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory."

Edited by Vort

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It is now clearer to me why most LDS do not consider the lower kingdoms--even the Terrestial--to be the kind of heavenly reward they would settle for.

 

The issue arose during a dialogue between LDS & evangelical.  The evangelical asked, "If we're right and you're wrong, you could face hell.  If you're right and I'm wrong, all I suffer is eternity in the Terrestial Kingdom.  So, why risk hell?"  The LDS person shrugged and said he would not settle for the 2nd kingdom.

 

Understanding that the lower kingdoms are places God made, while the highest kingdom is his home is a great clarifier.

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That shows some insight.  I'm impressed.  Here is how I see the three degrees of glory and outer darkness.

 

O.D. would be like constantly being consumed in a burning pain and emotional torture while being locked inside a claustrophobic box (like a coffin) without hope of this ever changing.   Yeah, that's pretty bad.

 

The Telestial Kingdom would be like living as a billionaire on earth.  And there would never be any poverty or disease or growing older.  But we are still limited to this one planet for all eternity.

 

The Terrestrial Kingdom would be like being part of an advanced civilization that travels the universe of an eventually finite number of planets.  And it takes a great deal of time to travel between galaxies.  All the while living in luxury. But in an inordinate amount of time in mortal terms, we'd eventually run out of planets to visit.  We'd still find there is a limit even though it seems much greater than what we can think of in mortal terms.

 

The Celestial Kingdom would be like transcending all these limitations and traveling anywhere and anywhen in the blink of an eye.  We could also travel to any number of dimensions, planes, and levels of being as we saw fit.  All the while, it would not simply be luxury, but a state of being and happiness that can only be described as exalted.  There would never be any limits on what we could do or where we could go or what we could become.  This is what is meant by Eternal Progression.

 

Once you see that vision, you realize that even the Telestial and Terrestrial Kingdoms are a form of damnation.

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